Last week, artisans from Hermès headquarters in France set up shop along the waterfront near the Vancouver Convention Centre, and demonstrated the techniques behind the 179-year-old fashion house.
Ever wonder why an Hermès bag costs $10,000? “Hermès At Work” provided some clues, as stylishly dressed seamstresses, silkscreeners, saddlemakers, gem-setters, graphic designers and painters worked away to the astonishment of the flowing crowd.
As the artists explained their métiers (or trades), translators revealed the eye-opening stats and facts, like how it takes up to 40 screens to print a single Hermes scarf (all done by hand, of course) or that it can take 12 months to separate the layers of a single design for printing, or that they weave their own silk, build their own screen presses, mix their own colours, and just generally love what they do.
We also shared a smile when one speaker revealed that each Hermès bag carries the signature of its maker somewhere inside, and if there is ever a problem with your Birkin, the bag is sent back to the person who made it and they are “shamed”, as only the French can imply.
We’d love to see more traveling exhibitions like this, and are looking forward to when Coach sets up shop in the atrium at Pacific Centre next month to do something similar for their 75th.
Of all the demonstrations, the ones involving ink and canvas were the most inspiring to me. Hot on the heels of a photogenic IDS Vancouver, my phone ultimately filled up with snaps and videos from the show, though, so I leave you with what I was moved to capture before my dastardly memory card ran out. —KK